Jazz Festival disappearance disappoints community

Allan Hayes, Editor

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Monroe has become a slowly decaying small Midwestern town with heroin, sex trafficking, and a never-ending parade of closing stores, chipping away at what this town is known for. As any older community member would say, this town used to thrive with department stores, restaurants, and plenty of activities for tourists to enjoy. It has become headlines in the newspapers for Michigan’s worst roads, sex and drug trafficking, and a dying economy. Even with the few things this town has to offer to its community, this year, a few of its attractions are having complications.

The Jazz Festival that Monroe held at Saint Mary’s Park has been a big event for the past 18 years and has come to a halt. The decision was announced by interim director Brad Schreiber on the Facebook page of the Monroe Convention and Tourism Bureau. The event used to have live music, games, food and offered a chance to get out. It also brought a lot of people to the stores downtown, and without this, it takes away the small amount of business they do have.

The reason for its cancellation is because the main sponsor for the event dropped this year, cutting the budget of the Jazz Festival to almost nothing. This is a complete destruction to Monroe’s name; we might be a city of empty buildings and heroin addicts, but this festival is what made Monroe, Monroe. It was a positive source of attention for once and brought thousands to our town.

The reason cited for the end of the sponsorship is because of the death of John Patterson last year, who was a former director and founder of the event. This led to five of the sponsors that donate $10,000 annually to justify that their last year’s donation was the end of the sponsorship, a fitting tribute to his death. This isn’t fair to the people of Monroe. The only thing that kept this dying city going was the Jazz Festival and Patterson’s death isn’t a reason to end it.

With the Jazz Festival coming to an end, this summer the people have only one thing to look forward to — the annual Fourth of July fireworks at Sterling State park. Recently, the park announce that here is not enough money for the fireworks this year due to a lack of donations (Monroenews.com). The park usually receives $11,000 for the event but they are coming off $9,000 short. Facebook and Twitter posts have been trying to get the attention of the dilemma and to help raise for the event but no further announcements have been made whether the fireworks are happening or not. Monroe is losing its purpose, making this city come to an end. We need help because this city can’t afford anything.  The fireworks bring people from all over the state and Monroe is becoming a home for heroin addicts that can’t even enjoy the annual fireworks.


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